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 Louise Rutterford

Louise Rutterford

PhD student

 Geoffrey Pope 


Geoffrey Pope Building, University of Exeter , Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD, UK


My research interests centre around how to reduce and mitigate anthropogenic impacts in the environment, with particular focus on the response of marine systems to climate change and conserving threatened marine environments. I work in partnership with the Universities of Exeter and Bristol and the Centre for environment, fisheries and aquaculture science (Cefas).

I completed a biology degree and environmental masters at York University, with a focus on climate science in terrestrial systems. I’ve recently returned to scientific study following work as a research assistant assessing existing and predicting future impacts of climate change on major fisheries species in the North Sea. This follows several years of work in the environmental sector as a project manager for sustainable energy and transport consultancies.

Through my PhD I am working closely with Cefas and am involved in government commissioned research projects. I have also reviewed papers submitted for publication that relate to my research area.


To help my universities to address the declared climate and environment emergency I choose lower impact refreshments for meetings and work with global teams remotely whenever possible. We are also improving the efficiency of our team office and lab space.  



BSc Biology, University of York, First class honours.
MRes Ecology and Environmental Management, University of York, Distinction.


Research projects

Project Title: Assessing the impacts of a changing climate on European continental shelf fisheries.

Steve Simpson, University of Exeter
Martin Genner, University of Bristol
Simon Jennings, Cefas, Lowestoft
Ewan Hunter, Cefas, Lowestoft

Funding Body:
NERC CASE studentship with Cefas

Project Description:
Using European fisheries survey data alongside modelled Met Office climate data to assess historic and predict future marine fish distributions based on climate and environmental projections. Using Generalised Additive Models (GAMs) to date.

Patterns of fish distributions alongside otolith records will be used to assess the impacts of changing environmental conditions on key fish species growth.


Changes of potential catches for North-East Atlantic small pelagic fisheries under climate change scenarios

Jose A. Fernandes, Thomas L. Frölicher, Louise A. Rutterford, Maite Erauskin-Extramiana & William W. L. Cheung (2020) Regional Environmental Change, volume 20, Article number: 116

Can we project changes in fish abundance and distribution in response to climate?

Fernandes, J. A., L. Rutterford, S. D. Simpson, M. Butenschon, T. L. Frolicher, A. Yool, W. W. L. Cheung and A. Grant (2020). Global Change Biology26(7): 3891-3905.

Climate Change Drives Poleward Increases and Equatorward Declines in Marine Species

R. A. Hastings*, L. A. Rutterford*, J. J. Freer, R. A. Collins, S. D. Simpson and M. J. Genner (2020). Current Biology30(8): 1572.

Fishes in a changing world: learning from the past to promote sustainability of fish populations

TAC Gordon, HR Harding, FK Clever, IK Davidson, W Davison, DW Montgomery, RC Weatherhead, FM Windsor, JD Armstrong, A Bardonnet, E Bergman, JR Britton, IM Côté, D D'Agostino, LA Greenberg, AR Harborne, KK Kahilainen, NB Metcalfe, SC Mills, NJ Milner, FH Mittermayer, L Montorio, SL Nedelec, JM Prokkola, LA Rutterford, AGV Salvanes, SD Simpson, A Vainikka, JK Pinnegar, EM Santos (2018). Journal of Fish Biology 92 (3), 804-827.

Future fish distributions constrained by depth in warming seas

Rutterford, L. A.*, S. D. Simpson*, S. Jennings, M. P. Johnson, J. L. Blanchard, P. J. Schön, D. W. Sims, J. Tinker and M. J. Genner (2015). Future fish distributions constrained by depth in warming seas. Nature Climate Change 5 (6), 569-573.



University of Exeter: Environment & Climate Emergency Working Group White Paper (2019) 

An Independent Review commissioned by the Vice Chancellor’s Executive Group.

Future of the Sea: Biological Responses to Ocean Warming. 

Martin J. Genner, Jennifer J. Freer and Louise A. Rutterford, (2017). Foresight – Future of the Sea, Evidence Review, Government Office for Science. 


Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Steve Simpson

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